I’m super excited to share that ArtPrize 2014 is underway and my series Home Sweet Home is exhibited the Grand Rapids Art Museum!
It’s been an interesting journey for me. In May, I figured I could give this whole ArtPrize thing a try, not thinking much would come of it. So I applied to a few venues, and the last one I applied to was the GRAM. I wasn’t sure if I should try and connect with them, because I mean, it’s a museum and I’m just a college student, but I figured the worst that could happen is they would tell me no.
And that didn’t even happen.
I guess I wasn’t aware how big of a deal this is. I know ArtPrize is one of Michigan’s biggest tourist events, and I know a lot of my peers go to it, but I never have. So when I was filling out a contract with the museum, when I was arranging drop-off times, when I was interviewed for the exhibition, when I was asked if it was okay for the press to contact me, and when I got the list of these dinners/luncheons with important people, I was honestly overwhelmed. I still am.
Also I got a cool sticker when I came to drop my stuff off. Stickers mean serious business.
Last night was the Grand Rapids Art Museum Member Preview. I was so nervous all week, I couldn’t sleep, and all day I felt sick to my stomach. I never wear makeup, and I wore makeup, if that puts into perspective how anxious I was about literally everything. I kept thinking about never-would-happen scenarios, and I finally relaxed when we got to the museum and saw my work hanging up in the gallery. Everything looked wonderful.
There were a lot of people there, more than I was expecting (I don’t really know what I was expecting anymore.) It was so surreal, watching people read my artist statement and then slowly take their time looking at my images, reading the captions, sometimes going back to look again. There was one gentleman who sat on a bench and stared for at least ten minutes at my work- that was possibly my favorite part of the entire evening.
Talking with people about my work was great, since I don’t normally get to do that outside of a classroom setting. So, having people recognize me from the photos and come up to ask me questions was fantastic. I got questions like, “Is this for real?” and comments like, “This must have been really emotional for you.” I replied yes to both. I must have said thank you hundreds of times last night when people congratulated me or told me they enjoyed my work. All of the stress leading up to last night was 100% worth it.
Another surreal event: seeing my name is HUGE letters on the gallery wall. When we walked into the first gallery and saw one of the artists’ names, my best friend says to me, “Your name is going to be in big letters like that.” That didn’t quite register with my brain until I saw it in person.
I really enjoyed seeing the other artists’ work, and it’s an honor to be in the same venue with all of them. I’m pretty sure I’m the youngest artist there, so to be included with these practicing artists is truly humbling and exciting. Each piece in the GRAM for ArtPrize is extraordinary, so if you plan on visiting be sure to stop by! ArtPrize officially starts Wednesday, September 24th, and goes until October 12th. Hope to see you there!
And, as always, Happy Shooting!
P.S.- Here, have a visual representation about how I felt after last night:
P.P.S.- ArtPrize is a contest where the public casts a vote for their favorite piece! To learn more about this process, please visit: https://www.artprize.org/legal/voting-rules